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Hi, I'm Georgina! A coffee-loving adventure enthusiast here to share my favorite travel tips with you! My goal is to inspire others to get out and explore this wild planet by camping, hiking, or wandering around a fun new city!

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  • Georgina D'Angelo

15 Fun Things to Do in St. Augustine, Florida

Updated: Jan 29

Welcome to the “oldest city in the US,” St. Augustine, Florida. One of the best beach towns in the country, you don’t want to miss this city when you’re in Florida. There is a lot of fun to be had here, as well as tons to learn throughout the city’s historic streets and buildings.


Things to do in St. Augustine - Alpacka My Bags

Step back in time at Castillo de San Marcos National Monument and walk where Spanish soldiers once lived to protect the city. Enjoy pretty beach walks on the coast. Find delicious restaurants and some of the best seafood in the US.


If you only have a short amount of time here, keep reading to discover the best things to do in St. Augustine! After visiting and loving this Florida beach town, these are my top picks that you don’t want to miss out on. Let’s plan a fun trip and learn about the many fun things to do in St Augustine, Florida.


In this article...



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Castillo de San Marcos National Monument - Things to do in St. Augustine Florida
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument on the Coast

Where is St. Augustine?


St. Augustine is located in northeastern Florida right on the coast. Along with many fun activities in town, the beaches here are fantastic. Grab a beach chair and relax with a book, or lather on the sunscreen and hop in the ocean for a swim.


How to Get to St. Augustine


The closest international airport to St. Augustine is in Jacksonville, about a 45 to 50-minute drive away. You can also fly into Orlando.


Often flights are much cheaper when flying into Orlando, but you will either need to rent a car and drive the 2 hours to St. Augustine or plan your flight around catching the Amtrak train to Jacksonville.


Ready to plan your trip? Start by looking at flights! Already have them? Keep reading to learn about all the best things to do in St. Augustine.


Where to Stay in St Augustine


Finding the right place to stay always makes a vacation even better. Browse the best hotels and beachfront rentals in St Augustine and book your stay!


Brief St. Augustine History


Let’s take it back to 1545 when the Spanish settled in St. Augustine, Florida. It has been continuously occupied since this year, making it the oldest city in the United States.


St. Augustine was historically a military outpost town. This is where the Spanish fought the French and tried to conquer more of current-day Florida. It was also the base for Catholic missionary settlements across the southeast US.


Because it was established by the Spanish, the architecture here is still very influenced by the Spanish style. You can find traditional buildings that have been saved and restored, as well as new buildings that still follow Spanish-style architecture.


St. Augustine became a popular vacation destination when Henry Flagler, a former partner of John D. Rockefeller, opened three high-end hotels here. This attracted many local visitors and made St. Augustine a winter vacation haven.


Today, around 2 million people visit St. Augustine annually thanks to the beaches and the history. You can still visit the hotels that Henry Flagler opened, but they now operate as different businesses, and they're some of the best things to do in St. Augustine!


The Best Time to Visit St. Augustine


Woman standing in the Castillo de san Marcos - What to do in St Augustine Florida
Fun Things to Do in St Augustine

The weather in St. Augustine is fairly pleasant year-round. Temperatures reach the 90s in the summer, typically from June through August, and fall brings in slightly cooler temps, around the high 70s. Winter can get cold here, but it generally doesn’t drop below 40°F.


The best time to visit St. Augustine is in the spring, any time from March through June. This time of year brings temps around the 60s to 80s and less rain. As well as smaller crowds; you don’t get the summer break vacationers this time of year.


The rainiest months here are August and September. With that being said, Florida is very rainy, so expect rain any time of year. It is also very humid in Florida, especially in the summer.



What to Pack for St. Augustine


Let’s go to the beach! What to pack for St. Augustine will depend on when you want to visit, but let’s start with the basics.


Woman walking through trees through Spanish Moss - What to Pack for St Augustine
Spanish Moss Decorates St. Augustine

If you’re visiting St. Augustine in the summer, you should bring…


  • Sunscreen - Don’t let a bad sunburn ruin the rest of your trip, and protect your skin!

  • Swimsuit - I highly recommend going for a swim in the ocean, or at least relaxing and sunbathing on the beach!

  • Waterproof Sandals - Walking on the sand in sneakers is not fun, and it’s nice to be able to wash off your feet, shoes and all after a beach day.

  • Hat and Sunglasses - While it rains quite a bit, the Florida sun is no joke when it’s out. And a scalp sunburn is not any fun, so wear a hat if you’re outside for a long time!

  • Walking Shoes - If you want to explore downtown St. Augustine, I highly recommend wearing comfortable walking shoes. These might be tennis shoes or a super comfy pair of sandals.

  • Packing Cubes - These are a packing hack you don’t want to miss out on. Keep your clothes organized, and fit more into a small bag than you ever thought was possible.

  • Compact Umbrella - Remember it rains quite a bit in St. Augustine, so throw a travel-size umbrella in your bag!

  • Quick Dry Beach Towel - This isn’t necessarily a must as your rental might have beach towels available, but I have found a quick dry towel to be a must on the beach, and they repel sand!


I recommend packing shorts, dresses, tank tops, and t-shirts for a summer trip. It will be quite hot in the day, but bring a light sweatshirt or jacket for the evenings or for cold restaurants as the AC is often on high.


If you’re visiting St. Augustine in the winter, or in cooler months, you probably won’t want a swimsuit unless your accommodation has a hot tub. You can also leave the sandals and beach towel at home. I suggest packing pants, t-shirts, and a jacket or two. If you typically run cold, bring some long sleeve shirts or a couple of sweaters.


But don’t forget packing cubes no matter when you visit! Winter clothes tend to take up more space in your luggage, so these will be extra helpful in colder months.


15 Fun Things to Do in St. Augustine


No more wondering what to do in St. Augustine. It’s now time for the super fun part. Explore the best of St. Augustine, learn about its history, and appreciate all the oldest city in the US has to offer.


Here are the best things to do in St Augustine, Florida:


1. St. Augustine Trolley


This is the number one pick of all things to do in St Augustine because it is such a fun way to see all of downtown. The drivers are guides who will tell you all the cool facts, and the trolleys are transportation you can hop on and off to explore at your own pace.


Head to the Old Town Trolley Main Depot to start your journey. There is free parking (yippee!), bathrooms, and a gift shop. You can buy tickets here and hop on the trolley at the beginning of its route.


There are multiple places you can buy tickets for the St. Augustine trolley, but I recommend starting here for convenience, even if you purchase tickets online ahead of time.




  • The Route: There are 22 stops along the trolly route, and you can get on and off as you please. It is similar to a public bus in this way, but the driver is very helpful, sharing facts about the city along with recommendations.


  • Schedule: The trolleys run every 15 minutes from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. Make sure you grab a map from a trolley employee before you start your adventure!


If you’re looking to shop and dine, I suggest getting off at stop 7 on Hypolita Street. This is a very walkable area with tons of store and restaurant options.


This is the best way to get a guided tour of the entire downtown St. Augustine along with transportation, and you can travel at your own pace!


How long does the St. Augustine trolley tour take?

The Old Town Trolley can take as long or as short as you please. It's a hop-on, hop-off trolley with 22 designated stops. You can stay on the entire route, or get off to dine, shop, etc., and get back on the next trolley.


How does the trolley work in St. Augustine?

The Old Town Trolley offers the best tour of downtown St Augustine. There are 22 stops on the route, and the drivers are very knowledgeable of the city. You can hop on and off the trolley as often as you please with the 1-Day unlimited ride ticket. Multiple trolleys run all day, stopping at each stop every 15 minutes,


Is it worth it to take the trolley in St. Augustine?

Explore downtown St Augustine the exciting way! The Old Town Trolley is the best tour and allows you to check off more of the best things to do in St Augustine. The drivers are your personal tour guides offering recommendations as well as historical facts about the city.


Is St. Augustine trolley free?

The St Augustine trolley tickets cost $37 per person for all-day unlimited reboarding. You can get on and off as you please and explore the city at your own pace. It's the best way to make the most of a short time in St. Augustine, and worth the money.


2. Castillo de San Marcos National Monument


Built by the Spanish, the Castillo de San Marcos was a fort designed to protect Florida and the Atlantic trade route that kept the people living here alive. This is a must-see in St. Augustine, it played a huge role in the city’s history.


The fort was never destroyed in battle, although there were plenty that happened around it. Because it was so sturdy, it never fell to enemy forces until a treaty forced it from the hands of the Spanish to the British.



Do you have to pay to see Castillo de San Marcos?

It is run by the National Park Service, or NPS, so you can use your America the Beautiful Pass to enter. Otherwise, you can purchase entrance tickets when you arrive.


Tickets cost $15 per person. This is one of the very best things to do in St Augustine, and they even have a real cannon-firing show you can witness.


Is Castillo de San Marcos worth it?

Exploring Castillo de San Marcos is one the best things to do in St Augustine. It played a significant part in the city's history. It's one of the stops on the St Augustine trolley and is located right on the waterfront. There are historic weapons demonstrations you can watch on the weekends too.


How long do you need at Castillo de San Marcos?

Allow yourself 1 to 3 hours to see all of Castillo de San Marcos. There are many rooms you can explore on the ground level with information to read about the fort's history. There are historic weapons demonstrations you can watch on the weekends which add about 20 minutes to your time here.


3. Enjoy a Beach Day


What's a trip to St. Augustine, Florida without a beach day? Head to St. Augustine Beach or Vilano Beach, and go for a swim or relax in the sun. Whatever your beach style is, St. Augustine’s beaches are so nice and you don’t want to miss out on them!


Before your trip, look to see if your accommodation has beach gear available to use. While you can visit with just a towel, it’s really nice if you have an umbrella and some chairs.



What is the nicest beach in St. Augustine Florida?

The two best beaches to visit in St. Augustine are Vilano Beach and St Augustine Beach. These beaches are both very clean with great swimming conditions. Visit early in the morning to avoid the biggest crowds!


Does St. Augustine Beach have clear water?

St. Augustine doesn't have crystal clear water like other Florida beaches, but the water here is clean and perfect for swimming in.


4. Ghost Tour


Who wants to get spooked? Book a St. Augustine ghost tour and dive into some of the city’s creepy past. The 80-minute tour is guided by a host who knows all the interesting facts. Get ready to get the chills! You can also book a tour of the Old Jail and try to find ghosts on your own with the provided paranormal detecting equipment.


5. Live Music at the St. Augustine Amphitheater


This one's for you live music lovers. If you can, you may want to plan in advance and see who will be performing while you’re in town. But if you’re not picky about who you listen to and where your seats are, buy some last-minute tickets to a current show at the St. Augustine Amphitheater and enjoy a fun night with live music!



6. Airboat Ride


Experience a different side of Northeast Florida and book an airboat tour! This is an exciting activity for everyone, and the guides will tell you tons of information about the area. You can also rent a pontoon boat if you prefer a slower-paced adventure, but you will drive this yourself.


Airboat - What to Do in St Augustine, Florida

7. Potter’s Wax Museum


Head to the oldest wax museum in the US for a fun activity for you and the whole family. Learn about Florida history, United States history, science, culture, and more with life-size wax replicas of people throughout time at Potter's. It's like you're learning the history from the actual people who experienced it!


You can buy tickets in advance for Potter's Wax Museum.


Potter's Wax Museum - Things to do in St Augustine Florida
Potter's Wax Museum

8. Spanish Military Hospital Museum


Hop in the museum and travel back in time. Learn about the history of medicine in the colonial Spanish days, and even watch some apothecary demonstrations. There are guided tours available so you can truly experience all there is in the Spanish Military Hospital Museum. And it’s pet-friendly!


If you happen to be looking for some dog-friendly things to do in St Augustine, the Spanish Military Hospital Museum is perfect for you.


St. Augustine Spanish Military Hospital Museum - What to do in St Augustine FL
Spanish Military Hospital Museum

9. Scenic Cruise


Travel along the St. Augustine waterfront and bay area and learn about historical monuments and events that shaped the city into what it is today. A scenic cruise is another fun way to see the beachfront while also learning about St. Augustine’s history.


Florida Water Tours provides multiple options in St. Augustine. The most popular cruise tours here are:


  • Sunset Cruise

  • Wine Tasting Cruise

  • Dolphin & Wildlife Adventure

  • Night of Lights


Sunrise on St Augustine Beach - Things to Do in St Augustine
Explore St Augustine From the Water

10. Kayak or Paddle Dolphin Tour


Get out on the water in St. Augustine and find dolphins and manatees with your local guide. The Three Brothers kayak tour is highly recommended; you can choose between a kayak and a stand-up paddleboard. They provide all the paddling gear you need and will be your guide the entire time. How many dolphins can you spot?


Two People Kayaking - Things to Do in St Augustine
Kayaking Dolphin Tour

11. Flagler College


This is a must-see! It’s one of my favorite things to do in St Augustine because it’s so pretty. This is a college campus that is currently in use but is free to walk around and admire. It was one of the original hotels built by Henry Flagler, the man most responsible for making St. Augustine the vacation destination it is today.


It was turned into a college in 1968 after a glorious history as a hotel. This is a stop on the St. Augustine trolley, so if you’re on it, make sure you get off at Flagler College!


Flagler College Campus - What to do in St. Augustine
The Beautiful Campus at Flagler College

12. Lightner Museum


Visit the Lightner Museum and learn interesting facts about history, art, and culture. Located in what was once the Alcazar Hotel, another hotel built by Henry Flagler, this museum is beautiful on the outside and filled with incredible exhibitions inside. You can buy tickets ahead of your visit if you wish to visit!


St. Augustine Lightner Museum from the outside
St. Augustine Lightner Museum

13. St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoological Park


This one is fun for kids, but also for all ages. Who doesn’t love a fun zoo experience? Besides housing 24 species of crocodilians here, there are lots of other animals to admire, as well as feeding shows and educational shows. There’s even a zipline over the alligators for the brave!


14. Lighthouse & Maritime Museum


While you can learn about the history of St. Augustine and how it became the city it is today, you can also climb to the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse for incredible views! There is even a Lighthouse ghost tour for those of you seeking a little thrill.


St. Augustine Lighthouse - Things to Do in St Augustine
St. Augustine Lighthouse

15. Eat All the Delicious Foods


When you think of St. Augustine, you might not think of culinary capital, but the food here should not be slept on!


Being right on the coast, there is a plethora of delicious and fresh seafood, along with other dishes you don’t want to miss. There are even dessert shops you should definitely check out! Here are some of the best restaurants in St Augustine:


  • Salt Life Food Shack - seafood, tacos, burgers, sushi, and more

  • The Backyard at Meehan’s - Irish pub with specialties like Shepard’s Pie and live music

  • Green Papaya - delicious Thai and Japanese dishes

  • Cousteau’s Waffle and Milkshake Bar - incredible milkshakes and waffle ice cream sandwiches


Best Things to Do in St Augustine: FAQ


What is St. Augustine Florida best known for?

St. Augustine is best known for its historical sites, including Castillo de San Marcos and Flagler College, as well as its nice beaches, fresh seafood, and the title of the "Oldest City in the US."


How do I spend a day in St. Augustine?

Hop on the Old Town Trolley in St Augustine for a fun day on the town. There are 22 stops to enjoy, and you have unlimited reboarding for 1 day. Explore the highlights of St Augustine such as Castillo de San Marcos and Flagler College.


Shop in the best parts of town and enjoy fresh seafood and other delicious cuisines at the best restaurants in St Augustine. Leave a few hours open to enjoy the beach; no visit to St Augustine is complete without a stop by the beach!


Is St. Augustine a walkable town?

Once you're downtown, St Augustine is pretty walkable. The best way to explore downtown is by grabbing tickets for the Old Town Trolley. This guided trolley ride has 22 designated stops, and you can get on and off whenever you please.


If you're staying outside of downtown, you might need a car to get around easily. You can also use Uber to get around St. Augustine.


Sunset in downtown St. Augustine - Best Things to Do in St Augustine
Sunset over the water in downtown St. Augustine

Are you excited about your trip to St. Augustine yet? The oldest city in the US has a lot to offer, making it the perfect destination for couples, families, or even solo travelers. Take a ride on the St. Augustine trolley and learn all about the city’s intriguing history. Shop around in the local stores downtown and pop in a restaurant or two for a delicious meal.


There are so many fun things to do in St Augustine, the list could go on, but I highly suggest you check out these things first. Especially if you’ve never been to St. Augustine before!


Pack your swimsuit and head to the beach for a relaxing day, this is simply a must here. If you can, go on a weekday to avoid the bigger crowds. And don’t forget your sunscreen!


Now it’s time to book your flights, find the best hotel, pack your bags, and get ready for a fun trip! Enjoy all this city has to offer and save these things to do in St Augustine. Where will you be heading first when you arrive in St. Augustine?


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aboutME

Hi, I'm Georgina, adventure enthusiast and creator of Alpacka My Bags. I'm here for all of your travel and adventure planning needs! 

 

I've been exploring this beautiful planet since I was a child, so I decided it was time to share my travel tips with others to enjoy. After college, I knew the "traditional career path" was not for me.

 

I needed to travel and explore what this world has to offer. It sounds cliché but you do only live once. So I made going on adventures a priority, and soon realized that I wanted to share them with others so you can enjoy them too! 

My passion is spreading the travel bug and showing others that travel is attainable and so worth it. From itineraries to camping tips to packing lists, Alpacka My Bags has you covered!

Join me, and often my partner and my dog, as we find exciting adventures and travel recommendations for you! If you've been bit by the travel bug just as I have, I hope you find my tips useful for all of your future travels.

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